Since opening its doors in the summer of 2002, Pechanga Resort & Casino has become a popular and well-loved West Coast destination for live entertainment, fine and casual dining, and invigorating games of chance.

“Pechanga Resort & Casino is dedicated to ensuring its guests receive the best resort experience they possibly can,” said John Flaherty, vice president of facilities at Pechanga. “Committed to maintaining Four Diamond level standards, we are continually reinvesting in our property and its amenities. This has most recently included an investment to address extremely high demand for accommodations and the subsequent need for more hotel rooms and resort activity spaces.”

In 2015, Pechanga held an official groundbreaking to add 568 rooms as well as expand its dining, spa, recreation, and meeting facilities.

Shortly after the first phase of construction, the project’s Los Angeles-based general contractor (GC), Tutor Perini Corp., was inclined to make a change to the original mechanical system design.

“With sovereign entity projects, particularly of this scope, we assume a lot of potential risk, and we wanted to make sure we were working with a mechanical equipment provider dedicated to topnotch, white-glove service, and one that could work outside the box if needed,” said Bill Abbott, project manager at Tutor Perini.

Tutor Perini subsequently encouraged El Cajon, California-based University Mechanical & Engineering Contractors, the project’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) firm, to connect with Air Treatment Corp. (ATC) and examine an alternative option from The Whalen Co.

“The GC wanted a manufacturer that was hands-on and could provide exceptional customer support as well as proprietary equipment designs,” said Dan Reeves, sales engineer at ATC. “They had worked with The Whalen Co. on a previous sovereign entity project and felt confident the company could provide a custom mechanical system solution.”

The ATC team met with The Whalen Co. to examine the options. “We were dealing with several variables on the Pechanga project, including code requirements for hotel room units able to deliver outsideair,” he said. “Traditionally, vertical stack fan coils take in outside air from ducting that connects to the side and toward the bottom of the unit. The air is then conditioned by the coil and discharged out of a grill at the top. With this type of unit design, ductwork must be run up against the side of the fan coil, connecting the unit’s air inlet to the air movement mechanism outside the building. As imagined, the sheet metal labor required to achieve this can be rather substantial, resulting in an extended construction timeline and elevated material and labor costs.”

The Whalen Co. recently developed a unique fan coil unit design to address this particular challenge. The “internal duct” is preinstalled on the inside of the cabinet in the plenum section. In addition to reducing installation costs, this design enables prefiltering and preconditioning.

“Our Inteli-line® vertical stack fan coil unit is fully assembled with factory-installed piping packages, controls, and risers,” said Tony Landers, vice president of sales and marketing at The Whalen Co. “We provide a complete solution when it comes to any required connection piping. The unit is ideal for installation in multifloor commercial applications, like hotels, apartments, and dormitories. Its small footprint also facilitates the ability to be furred into columns and walls as well as tighter spaces, like closets. This translates to the creation of more usable, functional square footage.”

In addition to integrated piping, Whalen’s Inteli-line has a slideout chassis that provides huge installation and maintenance benefits, according to Reeves.

“Fan coil unit installation in multistory applications requires aligning the unit above with the riser of the unit on the floor below,” Reeves explained. “This can be tricky, as you’re propping up and shifting the unit around during this whole process. There’s no way it can be a one-man job. With a removable chassis, however, the housing itself can be installed initially and independently, making it possible for a single person to manage.”

Further, a removable chassis equates to several additional benefits related to the construction timeline and installation staging.

“With the slide-out chassis version of Whalen’s Inteli-line vertical stack valve control fan coil unit, the chassis can be removed or installed using just four fasteners,” said Landers. “This means we have the ability to ship the chassis components separate from the cabinet. The Inteli-line offers further benefit in ongoing maintenance with easy access to the drain pan and all internal components and the ability to replace just the chassis if necessary.”

ATC’s successful conversion to Whalen resulted in specification of 522 four-pipe, 400-cfm heating and cooling units; 44 four-pipe, 600-cfm heating and cooling units; 98 four-pipe, 800-cfm heating and cooling units; 21 two-pipe, 600-cfm cooling-only units; 11 fourpipe, 800-cfm heating and cooling units; one two-pipe 1,000-cfm cooling-only unit, and 70 horizontal fan coil units.

“We made a plan to work our way up the building with a goal of installing all primary units first on the lowest three floors after which the secondary units, which share the primary’s risers, would be installed,” explained Ted Obrockta, former mechanical project manager at University Mechanical. “That way, all the pipe would be exposed and ready as we installed each secondary unit, and we could work as quickly as possible to stay in line with construction deadlines.”

Mechanical system installation wrapped up in fall 2017, with testing and balancing following throughout the last months of the year.

“Whalen was with us the entire way through the project and was even able to deliver on custom requests like labeling the hot/cold water supply/return hoses and sourcing custom colors for the grill covers,” said Reeves. “At that level, a lot of other manufacturers would have told us this just wasn’t possible, even though these are the kinds of things that can really make a difference on a project.”